Ultimate boys’ toys for small, sleek spaces

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Ultimate boys’ toys for small, sleek spaces


From left: Drop pod speakers by Scandyna, Dirt Devil KONE vacuum cleaner, Mondo Mint speakers, LG’s HS102G mobile projector and LF-07 Loofen food disposal. By Park Jong-keun

When it comes to the crunch, men like two things: sports and electronics. And what separates single men from those with better (or worse) halves is that they still have the freedom to spend their money as they please on electronics.

What most single men like these days can be summed up as the three Ms: mini, mobile and multi-functional items.

Perhaps due to the high cost of housing, most single men in Korea live in tiny spaces known as “one rooms” or “officetels.” These veritable shoeboxes measure roughly 33 square meters (355 square feet) on average, which severely limits the available space for electronic appliances.

This lack of space is the main reason that as far as electronic goods are concerned, smaller is better.


Top to bottom: Tivoli Audio’s Model One AM/FM radio, Bowers and Wilkins’ Zeppelin pod speakers and Dyson’s DC16 vacuum cleaner. [JoongAng Ilbo]

If the gadget is small and has multi-functional capabilities, it is of great interest to a one-room-dwelling single male. However, if it also looks good and enhances the aesthetics of his home, there’s no stopping a single guy from buying it.

Sure, there are always exceptions but the bottom line is that single Korean men love anything small, electronic and easy on the eye.

Leo Lee, a 36-year-old unmarried financial adviser who lives in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, says he likes buying mini electronic appliances because they are convenient and practical.

“Small electronic goods come with trendy designs nowadays, so purchasing mini electronic appliances not only makes sense for my small apartment but they look good, too.

“I also don’t have to worry about the hassles that come with moving large items at the end of my housing contract.”

Household chores and paying the bills are just some of the responsibilities all of us can do without. But choosing electronic goods to decorate the interior of your pad is a lot of fun.

You may think that’s not an option for single guys who have to take care of the cleaning, washing and scrubbing on their own. So how do you make household chores just that little bit more bearable? By choosing your weapon from a range of electronic goods that fit the definition of the 3 Ms.

Vacuum cleaners fall under that category. A definite necessity, what was once noisy, large and space-hogging has been downsized and upgraded to fulfill the needs of small unit dwellers.

Let’s start with Dirt Devil’s rechargeable KONE, designed by Karim Rashid, one of the leading stars in interior, fashion, furniture, lighting design and art. The stylish cone-shaped vacuum cleaner might look like a light stand, but its pointy top half is a vacuum cleaner which can be detached from its stand recharger on the bottom. Available in five stylish colors, it’s a nice addition to any space-conscious consumer’s household.

Another option is the slim, stylish and rechargeable Ergorapido by Electrolux, a Swedish company. If you’re interested in masculine designs, Dyson’s DC16 handheld vacuum cleaner resembles a power tool. The company claims its root cyclone technology allows for twice the suction of other handhelds and recharges three times faster. The convenient cup-emptying system is another convenient function.

These vacuum cleaners are ideal for small units due to their size but with an average of 15 to 20 minutes of battery life, be sure to look into details prior to purchasing.

Most men don’t really need many kitchen appliances, but storing your small wine collection in just the right temperature is crucial.

Ewave’s stainless Mini Cellar (PSWC8DSCT) stores up to eight bottles and boasts a sleek design and tinted window for protection from sunlight. It is also easy to use with a small temperature displaying screen and very straightforward buttons.

Still in the kitchen, Loofen’s LF-07 is a food disposal system with a simple, stylish look, and is a convenient way to dispose of uneaten food.

Music is also of importance to single men. And these days, music lovers can be categorized into two groups; those who use iPods and those who don’t.

iPod users do not have stereo systems, instead connecting their iPods to portable speakers for the same effect.

Audio makers are producing small and stylish speakers for this purpose. JBL, Altec Lansing, Bose, Hamann and Kadon are all respectable electronic brands producing iPod compatible speakers.

British loudspeaker company Bowers and Wilkins, known for producing high-quality audio speakers, are getting into the act with oval-shaped iPod speakers called Zeppelin. These unique-looking speakers won the MacWorld Award for Best Consumer Audio Product of 2008.

Scandyna is another speaker company with stylish wares. Their Drop pod speakers, available in six colors, are another solid choice for consumers.

Non-iPod users, on the other hand, prefer mini audio systems. Although mini audio component systems were quite popular during the 1990s, they have been replaced by their digital cousins, with the preference nowadays for MP3 files instead of CDs and MiniDiscs.

A popular digital audio system in the current market is Mint by Mondo System. It comprises one digital amp and two speakers, and allows users to connect their PMP, MP3 or CD player to the amp. Mint can also be connected to PCs with USB cords, while a wireless dock for iPods allows users to freely control their music list from within a 30-meter radius.

Other notable mentions are Tivoli Audio radios which boast a unique retro radio look. Designed by speaker maker Henry Kloss, the boxy, simple retro look, complete with a wood finish, is a great fit in any room.

Yamaha’s TSX-100, a desktop audio system, is great to place on a kitchen table or by the bedside.

Visual components are, obviously, a crucial addition to any self-respecting single male’s electronic home appliance collection.

Mini projectors are a great way to watch movies, video clips or play video games. These aren’t costly projectors attached to ceilings, either. These all-in-one projectors have built-in speakers and are small enough to conveniently place on a table.

One of the more popular models is the Epson EMP-TWD10. The ivory-colored projector has built-in speakers and a DVD player. It can be connected to PCs and video games, so with a TV card, you can watch your favorite shows and play your favorite games on a large screen.

Samsung and LG have also produced pocket-sized projectors. Samsung’s SP-P400 has a built-in speaker and a 30,000-hour LED lamp life, so consumers don’t have to worry about pricey LED lamp replacements. LG’s HS102G is also designed for users to connect easily to computers via a USB cable. While these pocket projectors were initially released for use in business presentations, they’re a welcome addition for tech-crazed single males with limited housing space.

By Jason Kim Staff Reporter/ Song Won-seok JoongAng Ilbo [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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